Actor Alec Baldwin just scored another big legal win in his “Rust” case after a judge denied the Santa Fe District Attorney her request to obtain a new special prosecutor after Andrea Reeb stepped down from the case earlier this month.
Both the “30 Rock” actor and “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the October 2021 death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, but it remains to be seen if the case will actually go to trial.
Alec Baldwin Scores Another Legal Win As Judge Denies D.A.’s Request For A New ‘Rust’ Special Prosecutor
On Friday, Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer, Jason Bowles, filed a brief arguing that the Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies was trying to misuse a New Mexico statute to appoint a new special prosecutor after Andrea Reeb stepped down.
In the court documents, her lawyer, Jason Bowles, wrote, “The statute is not designed to give district attorneys a taxpayer-funded supplemental ‘war chest’ to prosecute cases involving ‘high profile’ actors or individuals.” Interestingly enough, Baldwin’s legal team had yet to object to the appointment of a new special prosecutor.
However, as it turns out, they didn’t need to. On Monday, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer struck down Mary Carmack-Altwies’ request to bring a new special prosecutor into the “Rust” case, as first reported by Deadline. Although Carmack-Altwies insisted that they needed “extra manpower” on the case, the judge turned down her plea.
“All the money in the world doesn’t help prosecute a case if we can’t find the bodies in our office,” Carmack-Altwies said on Monday, noting that she has lost several prosecutors in the last few years and stating that it is difficult to recruit new prosecutors in the state.
“We are in dire straits,” she said at the virtual hearing on Monday. “So, we have to be able to look outside of our offices in order to find people. That is our good cause that we do not have the sufficient manpower to fully prosecute this by ourselves. Bringing on a special prosecutor helps with that by taking on some of the burden of prosecution.”
However, Judge Sommer referenced remarks that she had made last Friday, as she explained at the time that a special prosecutor “steps into and takes over the prosecution,” meaning that Carmack-Altwies would step aside and a new special prosecutor would take over. Carmack-Altwies wanted to co-counsel with the new special prosecutor, which was a no-go for the judge.
“You may not co-counsel … you stay the course and not use a special prosecutor and prosecuted on your own,” Judge Sommer decided. “It’s an either or,” she continued, reminding all parties of the deadline for the May 3 preliminary examination, which will see if there is enough evidence to take the case to a full trial.
“If you cannot prosecute, you cannot prosecute,” Judge Sommer reminded the DA after listing interpretations of the New Mexico statues on the prosecution of involuntary manslaughter charges. “Do you think that is a real argument after all is said and done?”
‘Rust’ To Continue Filming In Montana Next Month
Earlier this month, Deadline reported that “Rust” is expected to resume filming in Montana in late April. The original cast and crew, including Alec Baldwin, will resume production at the Yellowstone Film Ranch.
Last month, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins will be replaced by Bianca Cline, who has worked on the critically acclaimed “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On.” Halyna’s husband, Matthew Hutchins, has given Cline his “blessing and support” to finish the movie.
Matthew will also be serving as executive producer on the film, as part of the wrongful death lawsuit that was settled last October. Melina Spadone, a lawyer for Rust Movie Productions, told THR that the scene where Halyna Hutchins was shot has been rewritten but would not go into specifics.
According to THR, there will be several new roles on set, including safety officers Gary Jensen and Paul Jordan of Tenet Production Safety and production designer Christine Brandt.
The new film set will reportedly feature “enhanced on-set safety protocols, including safety supervisors and a prohibition against any working weapons or ammunition.” Meanwhile, Baldwin’s other film, “Supercell” was quietly released last week.